The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) has become an associate member of The New York Genome Center (NYGC), joining NYGC's growing consortium of 16 research and clinical institutions, all working together in new ways to utilize genomic data for better detection, treatment, and prevention of disease.
"Biologists at the NYSCF working with the genomic scientists at NYGC will help address some of the critical roadblocks in stem cell research," said Dr. Robert B. Darnell, president and scientific director of NYGC. "Modern genomics has the potential to provide vital missing information to help us learn how to harness stem cells for use in clinical medicine. We've developed techniques and ideas here at NYGC that will greatly synergize with the work ongoing at the NYSCF."
Stem cell biology and genomic analysis are both critical to the advancement of precision medicine. The collaboration will merge cutting-edge capabilities in human biology with genomic research, creating an optimal environment for translating research into a better standard of care for patients.
Susan L. Solomon, chief executive officer of NYSCF, said. "NYSCF has a number of current projects in which additional genomic analysis may play a critical role in better understanding disease susceptibility and risk factors. We hope to work with NYGC to integrate their genomic analysis into our research."
NYGC provides an "Integrated Genomics Solution," which includes scientific consultation; next-generation sequencing services for exomes, whole genomes and RNA; bioinformatic analysis of sequencing results using a high performance computing environment; and data storage so that researchers and clinicians can readily access these results.
NYSCF also will become a member of the NYGC's Scientific and Clinical Steering Committee (SCSC), which provides guidance on research direction and oversees research collaborations and related funding.
NYSCF employs 45 full-time scientists and engineers in its laboratory who are engaged in stem cell research and technology development, including creating NYSCF's Global Stem Cell Array, an automated technology platform that makes it possible to create identical stem cell lines from a large number of patients in a massively parallel process. This tool takes information learned from sequencing the human genome and puts it into a biological context to accelerate the development of safe and effective medicine. This robotic system creates induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines and cell derivatives in a standardized manner from genetically diverse patients and patients with disease. This program will create an array of stem cell lines representing the full range of human genetics and the diversity of the world's population.
"This collaboration will expand our resources to analyze our stem cell samples at the genetic level, as we continue to bring the latest discoveries in genome science to our work to understand, prevent, and eventually cure diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer's and multiple," said Scott Noggle, director of the NYSCF laboratory and the Charles Evans Senior Research Fellow for Alzheimer's.
Human variability is what makes finding disease mechanisms and cures so difficult; however, leveraging NYGC's experience and services to understand the genetic variability and gene expression of stem cell lines will help address why some people are affected by a disease and others are not. The promise of stem cell technology lies in creating human disease models in a dish. Therefore, combining genetic analysis with human iPS cell models creates a powerful tool for discovery.